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Action needed to safeguard the marathon

Published 09/05/2011

I joined thousands of others in the now-traditional May Day 'marathon-versus-traffic' battle. This is fast becoming one of the highlights of our local scene.

As has become the norm, this year's battle was won once again by the cars - ably assisted by the police and organisers.

Their metal armoury and excellent direction proved once again too much for those thousands on two legs. I wonder when we will get to see a victory for the other side in this annual asymmetric war. My fellow runners and I witnessed many examples of 'bullying'. As thousands thronged over the bridge at Maysfield, there was traffic heading in the opposite direction through the runners.

Police stopped runners - yes, runners - at Duncrue to allow traffic to pass. Cyclists, not marshals, were moving against the flow of the runners on the narrow M2 foreshore cycle-path.

The marathon improves year-on-year, numbers are up, the relay is an excellent addition. But here's the question: when will the organisers realise that we have reached a critical mass?

I say to all involved in the organisation of this race: be imaginative and give the city over to the runners and their supporters - and maybe include some participants in the planning.

PAUL HARDING

Belfast

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